A popular restaurant for visiting PGA golfers and Canton residents burned down Sunday after the building caught fire twice in just hours.
Jeff Hendershot has owned Baker's Cafe '33 for 18 years and he told newsnet5.com overnight that he first discovered a small fire in the attic around noon Sunday. Canton firefighters responded and were able to put out the small electrical fire but Hendershot said the damage was enough that they were going to be closed for a week or two for repairs.
Everyone had left the restaurant by about 4 p.m. Sunday thinking everything was fine until Canton firefighters were called back to the building around 10 p.m., finding flames that were shooting through the roof.
The second fire destroyed the building, leaving only the outside block walls and a small section of roof near the rear still standing.
Those who know the Hendershot's and Baker's Cafe'33 know that during the annual PGA visit to Firestone Country Club golfers flock to the Stark Avenue spot. Hendershot said that almost every golfer that has played Firestone since 1981 has made their way to Baker's.
"Sergio Garcia tweeted two years ago that he was at his favorite steak house in the United States," Hendershot said, naming all the golfers that had eaten at Baker's Cafe'33. He even said Tiger Woods was not able to get a seat a few years ago, leaving in his limo for fast food.
After the fire was out Sunday evening, firefighters were able to get to the only safe area of the building to retrieve some of the priceless artifacts and other family mementos including an Olympic Torch that Hendershot's 81-year-old grandmother carried for a mile in Cleveland during the lead up to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Hendershot was grateful to the Canton firefighters for saving some of the stuff inside. "They are special people to do what they do anyway but for them to actually care enough to say we know you have some valuable stuff in there can we get any of it out for you."
Canton Fire Department investigators were at the scene around midnight, working on determining the cause of the second fire. At this time, firefighters are unsure whether remnants of the first fire sparked the second or if the second one started entirely on its own.
Hendershot vowed to rebuild and said they had insurance and would begin the process in the morning.